Around 150 people we among the first to tour a renovated 1874 building in Downtown Williamston last week. It was clear that developer Steve Eyke of
LaFollette Custom Homes, Ltd.
wasn't the only one excited to see the project reach completion.
""I've restored it based on photo documentation of when it was first built," says Eyke. "Also, the first floor has been vacant for 10 years and the upper floor has been empty for more like 30. To see this historic building come to life and have a restaurant on the first floor just got people excited."
Though formerly planned to be a Michigan Brewing Company Pub
, the 3,300-square foot restaurant will soon open as Tavern 109, owned by Eyke and business partner Bonnie Warmels. The pub will feature 12 microbrews on tap and will seat 100 diners. Eyke estimates 25-30 employees will be hired for the business and hopes to open for business in about two weeks.
In addition to the restaurant, the 10,000-square foot, mixed-use building includes two condos and four apartments. Both condos have been sold and all four apartments were leased prior to last week's ribbon cutting.
The $800,000 project is also significant for its financing. Approximately half of the project cost was paid for through grants and tax credits from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan State Housing and Development Authority and the City of Williamston.
"It's the first time the MSHDA rental rehab and the MEDC Signature Building grants have been used together," says Eyke.
Photo - Susan Booth